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About our School

 At UHMS, there are two key principles that guide our planning and decision making: 1) Students come first. Always. 2) Community and culture are key. We created a comprehensive plan that guides how we build a successful school in terms of both academics and student engagement. Our ultimate goals align with district and board goals. While we are currently working on several different initiatives, they all work together to create what we term the “Uni Way.”
 
The Uni Way is comprised of research based strategies from PBIS and Restorative Practices with a focus on student engagement and community building.Teacher team leaders drive our school plan, which is centered on developing team identity among teachers and students, building consistency through positive relationships, providing social skills instruction, increasing student involvement, and creating partnerships within the community. All of these pieces work together to create a positive culture where students feel engagement, hope, and connectedness to school--the Uni Way. 
 
Teams: The school is organized into cross-curricular teams that have common prep periods for daily collaboration. Students share the same four core teachers, who are strategically placed within close proximity to each other creating team neighborhoods. This set-up allows us to maximize the power of the team to ensure consistency across all core periods in terms of school-wide expectations, instructional strategies, and grading practices. Teachers use common prep time to discuss student concerns, conference with students, identify interventions, and plan incentives and recognition for their students. Teachers personalize their team identity with wolf themed names, team greetings, and team competitions. This helps to create a strong student-teacher bond that stimulates a sense of pride in their school community.

Community Building: At the beginning of each school year, two weeks are dedicated to explicit instruction in social skills and behavior expectations. Utilizing a modified school schedule and a partnership with UC Riverside, the staff create an experience for students that sets up every student for success. One week, students remain on campus and participate in team building activities that prepare them for the year to come. They get to know their teachers and learn the rules and expectations of the school and their team. The second week, students spend three days at UCR participating in activities that teach them about college life, promote teamwork, and facilitate relationship building among the staff and students. The skills taught during the on campus week are reinforced in the activities at UCR.
 
Social Skills: Throughout the school year, social skills are consistently taught, reviewed, modeled, and acknowledged in all content areas on all teams. Teacher team leaders identified thirteen main skills (adapted from the Boy’s Town program) that students know as the Wolf Skills. Each week, there is a school-wide focus on one skill and one behavior. Teachers reteach and practice these with students each week and students are recognized for the weekly skills at an increased rate. This enables a focus on appropriate behaviors over problem behaviors, serving as a preventative measure. Using social skills as a frame helps teachers to separate problem behaviors from the student themselves. Teachers can reteach the appropriate behavior to students to ensure their future success. The focus is on supporting students to improve through modeling and practice in order to maintain positive trusting relationships.

Student Involvement: Staff firmly believe that students who are involved on campus care more about the school, take ownership, demonstrate higher engagement in the classroom, and are more caring towards each other. These students become socially engaged contributors, both on and off campus. As such, a large component of the Uni Way plan was to increase opportunities for students to be involved on campus. Some examples of clubs and engagement opportunities offered on campus include cheer, basketball, volleyball, soccer, track, Girl Talk, Cesar Chavez, robotics, chess, yearbook, lunchtime intramurals, anime and Club Live. Many of these clubs are student requested and driven. These clubs partner with elementary schools or community partners to build student connections to the community as well. For example, students in the SISTERS program participate in STEM related field trips, experiments, and mentoring with female UCR science majors. The Cesar Chavez club holds an annual food drive, maintains a community garden on campus, and collects donations for local veterans.
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